Visit Wales and the Welsh Government are carefully monitoring the ongoing situation with regards to the Corona Virus and will review and adjust planned activity according to the situation. Visitors are encouraged to check the latest travel and health advice available https://gov.wales/coronavirus-covid-19 and businesses are advised to visit Business Wales https://businesswales.gov.wales/news-and-blogs/news/coronavirus-acas-advice-employers-and-employees for the latest guidance for Welsh businesses.
Visit Britain are also running research to ensure they are capturing the impact of COVID-19 on tourism and Business Events in a consistent and comprehensive way, this questionnaire has been created in survey monkey for businesses to complete.
The questions in the survey will help capture the impact on bookings, the wider economic impact and what insurance is covering as well as what Business Events are affected in the short and longer-term.
Please ask your tourism business members to fill in the survey by using the link below. Anything contributed will be treated as confidential - disclosures will not be attributable.
https://www.research.net/r/VBCOVID19 Please complete the survey by 17.00 Wednesday 11 March.
There is a great deal of information and advice floating around, we therefore thought it would be useful to list some of the more official sources in one place in order to assist businesses to prepare for the possible spread of Covid-19. The message at the moment is that the UK and Wales is still very much open for business. In the meantime here are some useful reference sources:
UK Government - The UK Government has issued guidance to businesses in providing advice to staff on Covid-19. Link:
ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) is a Crown non-departmental public body of the Government and they have also issued guidance for employers and employees - https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus?
The UK Government has also launched a public awareness campaign and announced that statutory sick pay will be available for people self-isolating from the first day of their self-isolation. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/public-information-campaign-focuses-on-handwashing
Public Health Wales is working closely with the Welsh Government and the other UK public health agencies to carefully monitor the situation in China and implement a planned response, with measures in place to protect the health of the public. https://phw.nhs.wales/topics/latest-information-on-novel-coronavirus-covid-19/. Visit Wales have assured the WTA that they awill share advice for tourism businesses as soon as it is available.
VisitBritain's website -https://www.visitbritain.org/covid-19-new-coronavirus-latest-information-and-advice-businesses contains advice for businesses and has key updates and information. Similarly VisitScotland has also placed dedicated information on its site https://www.visitscotland.org/supporting-your-business/advice/coronavirus
The Association of British Professional Conference Organisers has also released guidance for event planners and venues https://www.conference-news.co.uk/index.php/coronavirus-updates-news/coronavirus-abpco-provides-advice-pcos
General Information and Statistics about Covid-19 - For up to date general information about the spread and characteristics of Coronavirus across the globe check worldometers site - https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ It collates all the cases of Coronavirus from around the world into a series of charts that are updated in near real time so you can easily see what is happening both globally and on a country by country basis.
Airbnb held a roundtable event in Cardiff (28/02/2020) where hosts, local politicians, and stakeholder groups came together to consult on proposals for a clear, modern and simple registration system for short-term rentals.
The meeting was held as part of Airbnb’s registration roadshow. The UK does not currently have a registration scheme for short-term lets, and some local authorities and politicians have stated that a registration system run by the Government is essential to managing home sharing effectively.
Andrew Campbell, Wales Tourism Alliance Chair, stated, ‘Whilst the Wales Tourism Alliance provides in-principle support for an industry wide registration scheme, we want the scope of the proposals to aim toward creating a level playing field in relation to the regulation of Short Term Holiday Lets and ensure equal and fair opportunity to Markets for all tourism businesses. We welcome Airbnb’s early initiative in devising this Industry White Paper’.
Patrick Robinson, Director of Public Policy, at Airbnb, said: “We want to be good partners to cities and work together on a clear and simple host registration system that works for everyone and makes communities stronger. Airbnb has long led the way on home sharing rules in London. Now we want to work with cities across the UK on proposals that work for them too.”
Airbnb was the first platform to automatically restrict how often London hosts can share their homes to support the local 90-day hosting limit. It has also backed calls from the Mayor of London to introduce a registration system in the capital to ensure that these rules are applied fairly and equally to hosts on all platforms. Through the roadshow, Airbnb will continue this work and engage with major cities across the UK on these proposals.
The UK Government’s Action Plan for Coronavirus has been published today (03/03/2020).
IIt provides useful information about the disease and the phased approach that the Government will implement if and when the disease becomes established in the UK. Essentially the three phases are:
These phases will be under pinned by ongoing research to better understand the virus and the actions that will lessen its effect on the UK population; innovate responses including diagnostics, drugs and vaccines; use the evidence to inform the development of the most effective models of care.While the measures being implemented currently span the Contain and Delay phases (ie., advice to wash hands) we are generally in the contain phase at the moment.
In the document, the actions that the Government will be take next are reasonably general, but it is worth noting that the next step in the Delay phase includes “Actions that would be considered could include population distancing strategies (such as school closures, encouraging greater home working, reducing the number of large scale gatherings) to slow the spread of the disease throughout the population, whilst ensuring the country’s ability to continue to run as normally as possible.” This will obviously directly impact some parts of the tourism industry.
The EU and UK Govt have now both published their negotiation positions ahead of the Trade Deal talks. Of note for the tourism industry in the UK Government’s outline of their approach to negotiations are:
The provisional IPS figures for November and December 2019 for the UK show:-
-There were 2.9 million visits to the UK by overseas residents in November 2019 (1% fewer than in November 2018) and 3.2 million visits in December 2019 (12% more than in December 2018).
-Overseas residents spent £1.9 billion on visits to the UK in November 2019 (21% more than in November 2018) and £2.3 billion on visits in December 2019 (38% more than December 2018).
-UK residents made 4.4 million visits overseas in November 2019 (5% more than in November 2018) and 3.9 million visits in December 2019 (4% more than in December 2018).
-UK residents spent £3.1 billion on visits overseas in November 2019 (21% more than in November 2018) and £2.4 billion on visits overseas in December 2019 (4% more than in December 2018).
These are again very large variations year on year.
TIER’s Coronavirus update from 26th February 2020 which contains useful information including a WHO/UNWTO statement on coronavirus and tourism.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice for outbound travel
· The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) is still advising against all travel to Hubei Province and against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China
· The FCO is also advising against all but essential travel to:
o the cities of Daegu and Cheongdo in South Korea
o ten small towns in the Lombardy region and one in the Veneto region of Italy
The FCO is not advising against travel to any other country/territory as a result of coronavirus risks. Other travel measures, advice and updates:
Practical advice and guidance
In the meantime you can visit the VB website where they continue to share advice for businesses and links to key updates and information.
The UK Government’s Point’s based Immigration paper has been launched (click the link to download a copy). A new system will require people wanting to work in the UK to achieve a total of 70 points or more. The allocation of points being as follows:
Addition Points Available
There are also a number of other changes to immigration requirements that are important to know about. These include:
Following the UK’s departure from the EU on 31 January we are now in a transition period; during this time, the way we will do business with the EU will not change. However, you may need to prepare and make changes to continue to do business at the end of the transition period. To assist you, it maybe worth noting this useful Welsh Government website - https://gov.wales/preparing-wales
Over the last 12 months the Destination Pembrokeshire Partnership (DPP) – comprising Pembrokeshire Tourism, Pembrokeshire County Council, PLANED and the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority (PCNPA) – have been working closely together to produce two key pieces of work to drive tourism growth in the County.
The first is a new five-year Tourism Strategy known as a Destination Management Plan (DMP). Feedback from the trade and other partners through online questionnaires, face-to-face consultations and workshops have helped form the new DMP.The new plan will run from 2020 to 2025 and will cover the priorities and aspirations for Pembrokeshire as a tourism destination.
The second is an exercise looking at whether some tourism services could be managed more effectively by operating in a different way, with the aim of supporting the multi-million-pound tourism industry. Currently, a wide range of services are delivered by the Destination Pembrokeshire Partnership with each of the partners focusing on different areas of activity.
On Wednesday, 5th February, and Monday, 10th February, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority and Pembrokeshire County Council respectively approved both the DMP strategy and the proposal for a new Destination Marketing Organisation (DMO). The resources and staff from the County Council’s Tourism (Destination Marketing) department will be transferred to Pembrokeshire Tourism, the county’s tourism trade organisation, with support and resources also coming from PCNPA and PLANED.
The new Pembrokeshire Tourism organisation will be led by the trade and will be able to deliver a wider range of activities including: destination marketing activity; campaign and project delivery; industry liaison and support; research and intelligence; advocacy, and other activities such as supporting and potentially delivering some events.
Jane Rees-Baynes, chair of Pembrokeshire Tourism said: “We at Pembrokeshire Tourism are delighted that the proposals have been approved by all DPP partners. We believe this is an exciting new start for tourism in Pembrokeshire. We will be working hard over the next few months to establish this new trade led organisation as one of the leading DMOs in the UK. Our members will continue to receive the same great benefits through the transition and can look forward to an enhanced offering once the new organisation is in full operation.”
Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy, Tourism, Leisure and Culture, Paul Miller, said: “Far better than numerous, disparate entities working to support tourism in isolation, we will now have a single, joint plan together with a strong, well resourced, trade led organisation driving the Pembrokeshire 'destination'. It’s an exciting opportunity for the County to further develop our incredible tourism offer and to ensure Pembrokeshire is discovered by even more visitors from right across the globe.”
Iwan Thomas, Chief Executive, PLANED, said: “The delivery of this new strategy clearly demonstrates the commitment to partnership working here by these key organisations within Pembrokeshire. PLANED’s role has been to support the voice particularly of communities within the county, and the importance of the tourism and hospitality sector to those communities. With this new and exciting approach, we will continue to support our partners and the industry, to promote the alignment of communities to this key economic driver for Pembrokeshire, and the further opportunities this now presents.”
The Chairman of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, Councillor Paul Harries said: “We are very pleased to support the creation of the new organisation aimed at improving the county’s tourism offering to enhance our reputation as a leading accessible and sustainable tourism destination.We look forward to working with partner bodies and the tourism trade to further develop work in this area.”
The new DMP will be formally launched at the Pembrokeshire Tourism Summit at Rhosygilwen on the 26th February. Contact the Pembrokeshire Tourism office on 01646 622228 to book tickets.